The microwave gets a bad rap these days, but when you’re running late or only have 10 minutes between errands, tossing a few ingredients in a mug for a healthy and tasty meal in five minutes flat doesn’t sound too shabby. And all that hype about microwaves causing health concerns—well, it’s just that. (There’s not really enough evidence to suggest they release enough radiation to be harmful.)

These breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes are surprisingly flavorful and can be carried to work and cooked on the spot. If you’re really anti-microwave, most of them can easily be made in the oven if you have a few extra minutes to spare. While the desserts might not be the most nutritious, they are the most delicious. And who would say no to chocolate cake that only takes five minutes? Not us.

Breakfast

Mug Meals: Blueberry Muffin
Photo: The Big Man's World

Ok, so it might actually take two minutes. Inspired by the blueberry muffins at Starbucks, this version is healthier, faster to make, and tastier. Banana adds a little extra potassium and staying power to this breakfast of champions. And if you’re in it for the long haul (12 minutes), you can make it in the oven.

Mug Meals: Chocolate Mug Cake
Photo: Amy's Healthy Baking

It’s like dessert for breakfast—but good for you (and it only takes five minutes to whip up). Whole-wheat flour, cocoa powder greek yogurt, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup, this mug cake is perfect for those days when you want a sweet start to the day.

Mug Meals: Cinnamon Roll
Photo: The Iron You

We’re all about this pastry in a mug, especially when it’s cooler outside and we want cinnamon in everything. This mug treat delivers all of the comforting flavors of a cinnamon-roll breakfast, but with more fiber and nutrition. And tbh, if you’re running short on time, skip the frosting—you won’t miss it (that much).

Mug Meals: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffin
Photo: Sugar and Soul

The perfect excuse to eat cake for breakfast—after all, it’s oatmeal and peanut butter, what cake could be healthier? Just mix it up, toss in the microwave, and you’re out the door with a breakfast that won’t leave you frantically rummaging through your desk for snacks one hour later.

Mug Meals: Pancake
Photo: From Calculus to Cupcakes

Pancake à la souffle. It’s fluffy, it’s a pancake, and it’s in a mug—it's everything you could want. Add some blueberries for a sweeter version or cheese if you’re craving savory. Just don’t forget to grease the mug with butter or else you’ll have a very sad-looking mug at the end of your meal.

Mug Meals: Sweet Potato Hash
Photo: Bigger Bolder Baking

This one takes a bit longer—11 minutes—but we're talking potatoes here. The sweet potatoes mixed with savory veggies and cheese are a perfect combination, not to mention sweet potato's great nutritional benefits, like its anti-cancer and anti-inflamatory properties. Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam)--a valuable medicinal food: a review. Mohanraj R, Sivasankar S. Journal of medicinal food, 2014, Jun.;17(7):1557-7600. The touch of rosemary at the end adds the perfect finishing flavor.

Mug Meals: 2 Minute Omelet
Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats

Not to worry, egg lovers, we’ve got you covered too. This blend of spinach, peppers, and tomato is awesome, but you can substitute any veggies or meat for a create-your-own style.

Mug Meals: Spinach and Cheddar Quiche
Photo: Bowl of Delicious

A warm and delicious way to get your veggies for the day, this recipe tastes rich and flavorful while staying healthy. There's no more I-don't-have-time-to-eat-breakfast excuses allowed.

Mug Meals: Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa
Photo: The Wannabe Chef

This recipe loads up on the good stuff—quinoa and pumpkin—and uses maple syrup to sweeten it up. Pop one of these bad boys in the microwave before work for a seasonal dish that doesn't go overboard.

Lunch/Dinner

Mug Meals: Egg Fried Rice
Photo: Healthy Nibbles and Bits

Who knew you could make fried rice in a microwave? This recipe hits all the right (flavor) notes, and no one would ever guess it takes only a cup, a microwave, and a few (okay, maybe a bit more than that) ingredients. Just don’t skimp on the cup size—we're talking a meal here.

Mug Meals: Spaghetti-Os
Photo: Bigger Bolder Baking

Yep, you read that right: Spaghetti-ohs (cue your ecstatic inner child)—only the adult version, which still only takes seven minutes to make and will have you reminiscing about the good old days. Fun tip: Freeze the leftover sauce in ice cube trays, then just pull out and thaw when you’re in a rush.

Mug Meals: Mac n Cheese
Photo: The View From Great Island

Naturally, no mug recipe list would be complete without the tried-and-true mac n’ cheese. Only three ingredients—we don’t count water—and you’re on your way to comfort food heaven, minus the craft, pot, and mess.

Mug Meals: Lasagna
Photo: Bigger Bolder Baking

All you need is a minute—plus the thirty seconds it takes to throw the ingredients in a mug, but we’re pretty sure you can deal with that. It’s all the lasagna flavors you love sans noodles. Substitute in any meat, veggies, and sauce you want (you can even use pesto), and voila! It’s like Little Italy came to you.

Dessert

Mug Meals: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
Photo: The Wheatless Kitchen

Another reason to indulge your fall pumpkin cravings. As far as desserts go, this one’s pretty darn healthy—and gluten-free, although you could replace the coconut flour with regular if you’re in the mood for the full whammy. Whatever you do, don’t leave out the chocolate.

Mug Meals: Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Photo: Kirbie Cravings

You’ve gotta love PB for this one. It’s a cupful of pure peanut-ty goodness and it only calls for (five!) ingredients you’re bound to have on hand so you can whip it up at a moment’s notice.

Mug Meals: Cinnamon Roll Cake
Photo: Kim's Cravings

Six minutes 'til heaven—warm, cinnamon-y, gooey heaven. And with maple syrup for sweetness, it’s not all that bad for you either, especially if you opt for whole-wheat or spelt flour instead of white. We’ll just take breakfast and make it dessert.

Mug Meals: Apple Crisp
Photo: Oh My Dear Blog

Apple pie made easy. You can go the traditional oven route, but if you’re looking for a really quick treat, it takes only two and a half minutes in the microwave. Top it off with a little ice cream and ta-da! Gourmet gone simple.

Mug Meals: Red Velvet
Photo: La Creativite de la Fille

We’re not typically fans of adding dye to anything edible, but when it comes to red velvet cake, we can’t help ourselves—especially if it’s a cute single-serving cake! This is the ideal recipe to enjoy on a night in, and you won’t have to worry about leftovers tempting you later.

Mug Meals: Double Chocolate Brownie
Photo: Weelicious

Our happy place usually involves chocolate—the more, the better. This recipe does chocolate right, and you don’t even have to pull out a cake pan. Five minutes and you have a perfectly cooked brownie begging for a scoop of ice cream. Just be careful to not overcook, or it’ll get tough and rubbery.

Mug Meals: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Photo: Five Heart Home

For the citrus fans who don’t go gaga over chocolate, this speckled beauty is for you. It’s the perfect blend of sour and sweet, ready in minutes.

Mug Meals: 2 Minute Pumpkin Pie
Photo: The Paleo Mama

It doesn’t get simpler than this—only a few ingredients, a mug, and a microwave. You can even leave out the crust if you’re in the mood for pure pumpkin. You can use regular sugar or stevia, but we like maple syrup or honey best.


Originally posted December 2015. Updated July 2016.

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